Do not expect to see shared electric scooters back in the South Bay beach cities anytime soon unless they were ridden in from another city or the devices were placed on the streets illegally.
The idea for a beach cities regional pilot program was effectively killed, for the time being at least, Tuesday when the Redondo Beach City Council chose not to support an effort spearheaded by the South Bay Cities Council of Governments.
Redondo's decision to hold off in supporting a pilot program that would allow shared scooters under specific rules makes three out of five cities that chose to pass.
El Segundo and Hermosa city councils had previously agreed to support a pilot program if its neighbors also agreed while Manhattan Beach and Torrance rejected it. In the case of Redondo Beach, the council chose to revisit the idea when it discusses the city's strategic plan next year.
The idea was to create a uniform policy but only if it was accepted among neighboring cities as the devices tend to migrate some distance. Aaron Baum, program manager with the SBCCOG said zero-emission vehicles are still a large part of the agency's sustainability goals, but for now officials there are in a holding pattern on the issue.
"We think these things have a place," Baum said. "We have done a lot of work to create the structure to support a pilot project. I just don't see that there is the political support."
For now at least there is limited support for the bikes and scooters that have littered cities such as Santa Monica and San Diego, and which appeared in Redondo Beach and El Segundo last year when the devices were placed on the streets without permits by companies Lime and Byrd.
In each case, city officials rejected allowing the scooters on a full-time basis after experiencing their use in the city over a period of days and weeks. In the case of El Segundo, Lime and Bird scooters lasted on the streets roughly two months when the city pulled the plug. In Redondo, Bird scooters lasted three days before the city threatened the company with litigation.
Mayor Bill Brand on Tuesday said he was "totally against it" because of all the emails and phone calls he has received from residents who oppose the idea.
"I’ve had nothing but complaints," Brand said. "I've never once got an email from a resident requesting that we allow them in the city. All I’ve gotten are complaints and long voicemails about how much of a hazard they are."
In a survey of 1,076 residents in the beach cities, roughly 39% of respondents were in favor of a South Bay regional scooter share program, 38% were against it with another 24% saying they were undecided.
"The COG has done its best to engage the elected officials about the opportunity these vehicles can make," Baum said, "as well as educate them about the challenges they face. So they are not operating in a total vacuum."
Nils Nehrenheim, who represents District 1 in South Redondo Beach said he had mixed feelings about the devices that have been touted as a way for people to conveniently travel short distances without using much energy.
"You can't complain about traffic and parking and not try to look for a solution," Nehrenheim said. "But I'm not sure that in the long term these ride share things are the solution. Leaving them on the sidewalks and too many of them out there — these are the issues."
Lime spokeswoman Karla Owunwanne, who attended the Redondo Beach council meeting Tuesday — the only representative from one of the companies to speak — said that Lime was committed to making it easier and more accessible for people to get around communities. She cited 100-plus cities on five continents that have accepted them.
"We are really hoping we will be able to bring our expertise to the city of Redondo Beach," she said, adding that the company was willing to establish parking zones for the devices and they have the technology to limit where they are allowed to travel.
"We are hopeful we can continue to develop a meaningful partnership with the city," she said.